Thomas Jefferson Papers

Peter V. Daniel to Thomas Jefferson, 22 December 1809

From Peter V. Daniel

Richmond Dec. 22. 1809


In the character of a representative of the People I have been applied to in a case which indeed has entirely enlisted my feelings, and in which with no small satisfaction I have been told you may probably be of service. I have adventured in behalf of suffering merit—let this excuse my freedom towards yourself. The case as furnished from the party applicant is as follows.—John Stadler was a German Officer in the british service in the year 1755 and after—Under a grant from the King he became entitled to 2000 acres of land (as stated) near Lexington Kentucky. A warrant for this land was renewed during your administration of the goverment of Virginia, but in consequence of the murder of the surveyor by the savages, was lost, and no survey was returned1 upon that warrant, nor any farther proceeding had in the business. John Stadler left an only child, an amiable and intelligent woman—she married a man by the name of Thomas Allison, whose morning life promised favorably, but who became worthless, and after much impairing the2 circumstances of his family, died a Sot, leaving a widow, two daughters & a Son. Mrs Allison the party applicant, resides in the county of Stafford, and is impressed with the opinion, that the state legislature can now carry this warrant into effect. To aid her in an application to the general government, the only proper resort I presume; I have searched the Land Office for some testimony on which to bottom an application; but from the loss of some orders of council under the provincial government, or from the imperfection of the records of the office at any time anterior to the termination of the revolutionary war; (at least I am willing to think so in favor of Mrs A,) I have been able to discover nothing.—In this enquiry however, accident has informed me that John Stadler was personally known to, & even patronised by you. Should this be true, in conjunction with the circumstance of a warrant’s having issued in his favor under your administration, it may3 have fixed in your recollection some fact useful to the present purpose. Pardon me then Sir for asking in favor of this Lady & her family, any information in your possession, & any participation in their interests, which may comport with your approbation & convenience. They deserve believe me the sympathy & esteem of the virtuous, and you I know would be gratified to serve them.—

Accept Sir an assurance of his sincerest wishes that you may know every blessing which can gild the evening of an useful life, from one unknown to you, but who with many of your fellow citizens will always remember with gratitude, indeed with more than gratitude, the manner in which you have filled numerous & important relations with regard to our common Country—

Peter V. Daniel

RC (DLC); addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Esqre Charlotte’s Ville Albemarle County”; franked and postmarked; endorsed by TJ as received 7 Jan. 1810 and so recorded in SJL.

Peter Vyvian Daniel (1784–1860) briefly attended the College of New Jersey, read law under former attorney general Edmund Randolph in Richmond, and was admitted to the Virginia bar in 1808. He represented his native Stafford County in the Virginia House of Delegates, 1808–10, sat on the Council of State, 1812–35 and 1835–36, and was federal district judge for the Eastern District of Virginia, 1836–41. President Martin Van Buren named Daniel an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court just before leaving office in 1841. A staunch supporter of states’ rights and limited government and an opponent of banks, corporations, and legislative attempts to regulate or restrict slavery, he served on the high court until his death (ANB description begins John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography, 1999, 24 vols. description ends ; DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 1928–36, 20 vols. description ends ; DVB description begins John T. Kneebone and others, eds., Dictionary of Virginia Biography, 1998– , 3 vols. description ends ; John P. Frank, Justice Daniel Dissenting: A Biography of Peter V. Daniel [1964]; Leonard, General Assembly description begins Cynthia Miller Leonard, comp., The General Assembly of Virginia, July 30, 1619–January 11, 1978: A Bicentennial Register of Members, 1978 description ends , 253, 258).

In 1797 john stadler unsuccessfully petitioned Congress to fulfill George III’s 1763 land grant by giving him two thousand acres “in the unappropriated lands of the United States Northwest of the River Ohio” (JHR description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States description ends , 2:634–5, 3:207 [3 Jan. 1797, 27 Feb. 1798]). Despite Daniel’s assistance, the new effort to assert this claim also failed. Mary D. allison, of Stafford County, was probably the principal applicant (DNA: RG 29, CS, Stafford Co., 1810).

1Manuscript: “retured.”

2Manuscript: “the the.”

3Preceding two words interlined.

Index Entries

  • alcohol; abuse of search
  • Allison, Mary D. search
  • Allison, Thomas search
  • Congress, U.S.; petitions to search
  • Daniel, Peter Vyvian; and J. Stadler’s land grant search
  • Daniel, Peter Vyvian; identified search
  • Daniel, Peter Vyvian; letters from search
  • George III, king of Great Britain; land grant by search
  • health; alcohol abuse search
  • Indians; kill surveyor search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Public Service; as governor of Va. search
  • Stadler, John; attempts to secure land grant search